NOVEMBER 22, 2013
Webber gets early release for new Porsche era
Mark Webber will waste no time at all before leaping into his new Le Mans career.
News Limited newspapers say the Australian's Porsche era will begin on the day after Sunday's Brazilian grand prix.
Normally, F1 drivers remain under contract until the end of the calendar year, but the reports said Red Bull has given Webber, who has already had a seat fitting at Porsche's Weissach facility, "an early release".
"We are very lucky that Mark will join us one day after the formula one race in Sao Paulo," Porsche chief executive Matthias Muller confirmed.
"I met him last week when he had the seat fitting. We are very happy to have him," he said.
News Limited speculated that Webber's early release could have been helped by a new personal sponsorship deal between the 37-year-old and Red Bull, for whom he drove in F1 for the past seven years.
Muller said Webber will also get an early start to his Porsche testing duties: "I suppose it is in December," he revealed.
But before that, in Brazil, Webber will spend one more race alongside his ultra-successful teammate Sebastian Vettel.
On Thursday, the German ruled out righting the wrongs of the 'Multi-21' team orders affair by gifting Webber a farewell win.
"Mark is a sportsman and he doesn't want a win handed over to him," said Vettel.
"People tend to forget how successful we have been," he added. "We've been one of the strongest pairings in F1.
"Obviously we didn't have the best relationship on a personal level, but both of us have tried very hard to improve the car.
"The fact that he will not be around next year will surely be a loss for the team and a loss for myself.
"I've learned a lot from him and I can stand up straight and say that there have been many times and places where I've benefited from him. You could say the same thing the other way round," added Vettel.